Finance

German Gov't Satisfied With Macron's Success in 1st Round of French Election

German Gov't Satisfied With Macron's Success in 1st Round of French Election

With a broad smile, Le Pen stood before an adoring crowd, said her National Front party will represent "the great alternative" to the French people and pledged to open a "much-needed" debate on globalization.

Pollsters also said they would not do exit polls from Sunday's first round of voting.

"The French have expressed their desire for change", Macron told AFP in a statement, adding: "We're clearly turning a page in French political history".

He called the measures a "guarantee to the French people this fundamental right of choosing their future".

The first results from the Interior Ministry, after the processing of about 70 percent of the ballots cast in the first round, put him in the first place.

Voting took place amid heightened security in the first election under France's state of emergency, which has been in place since gun-and-bomb attacks in Paris in 2015.

"The two political parties that have governed France for years have been discarded", he said.

Le Pen's team downplays apocalyptic scenarios, arguing that the euro is headed for a breakup eventually anyway.

Reports suggested that protesters in Paris have clashed with police in demonstrations against Le Pen's victory.

Police and security forces quickly forced them into police vans, confiscating their signs.

In the end, Jean-Marie Le Pen was dealt a devastating blow when Chirac won 82% of the vote and defeated him in a landslide victory.

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Macron, 39, a former investment banker and economy minister who is a relative newcomer to French politics, would like to form a tighter bond with the European Union to lower the country's 10 percent unemployment rate.

Macron, 39, traveled to Le Touquet this weekend where he has a holiday home for time off the campaign trail.

Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon, who finished well behind in fifth, also endorsed Mr Macron.

A total of 11 contenders are vying to advance to the presidential runoff on May 7.

The election is widely being seen as a vote on the future of the European Union - with most of the French candidates railing against its institutions.

The incumbent President, fellow socialist Fran├žois Hollande, whose approval ratings have remained in the doldrums for several years, made the unusual decision not to run for a second term.

After the official results are announced, the top two candidates will then proceed to a run-off vote on May 7.

Presidential candidates usually vote together with their spouses. She is facing preliminary charges for her role in the fake jobs scandal that has rocked her husband's presidential campaign.

With a wink at his cheering, flag-waving supporters who yelled "We will win!" in his election day headquarters in Paris, Macron promised to be a president "who protects, who transforms and builds" if elected.

Far-left candidate Nathalie Arthaud cast her ballot soon after in the Paris suburb of Pantin.

On the streets of the capital, the polling stations gradually got busier from early morning after opening at 8am local time (4pm AEST). It's the most unpredictable election in generations. However, all four media said Le Pen's lead over conservative Francois Fillon and leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon was too close to call.


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